Series / The Stand

"There was a man with us some of the time; he was a dark man. I was looking through the rear-view mirror and I'd see him just sitting there, grinning at me. I thought I could outrun him... you can't outrun the dark man."

A 1994 four-part Mini Series version of Stephen King's book The Stand, starring Molly Ringwald, Gary Sinise and Rob Lowe, among many other character actors.

As an adaptation of the original novel, expect many of the tropes from that book to apply to the miniseries as well.

The miniseries contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: The Monster Shouter, to a certain extent. In the novel he was an older, immune, homeless crazy person who simply ran around Central Park screaming about monsters before getting murdered. In the miniseries he is shown as a devoutly religious person who spends his days wandering around New York City, calling on people to "bring out their dead" because he knows the superflu is coming, and he also shouts warnings about Randall Flagg, referring to him as the "monster," the "dark man" and the "hardcase." He also directly warns Larry about Flagg, addressing him by name (even though the two had never met before), thereby implying that the Monster Shouter may have had a similar power as Mother Abagail and was able to recognize other immune people. In the novel he is stabbed to death by some random thug, whereas in the miniseries he is killed by none other than Randall Flagg himself, from thousands of miles away, after the latter had heard him in Arizona. Presumably Flagg considered him a large enough threat to merit silencing him permanently.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • While the military rounding up Stu and the other residents in Arnette is only given a cursory mention in the book, it is expanded into a full-blown scene here, with Stu criticizing the soldiers for thinking he's an idiot and other residents crying when they're loaded into trucks.
    • The scene where Glen talks to the cockroach in the jail cells in Las Vegas was added for the miniseries.
  • Animal Motifs: One of the forms Randall Flagg assumes is a creepy crow.
  • Artistic License Biology: The intro setpiece pans over the dead researchers as "Don't Fear The Reaper" plays. Many of them appear to have simply dropped dead where they sat, something no virus can accomplish and which Captain Trips doesn't do to its later victims once escaped. This is given a brief handwave, when it's discussed that the pure strain is what did them in.
  • California Doubling: Closing the Lincoln Tunnel in New York for filming would have been insane, so instead they used the Armstrong Tunnels in Pittsburgh.
  • Cameo: Several in the miniseries, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (as the "Monster Shouter"), Joe Bob Briggs, Sam Raimi, and John Landis. Also included uncredited appearances by Ed Harris and Kathy Bates.
  • Composite Character:
    • Nadine and Rita's stories are merged in the series.
    • Some of Nadine's sub-plots were transferred to Lucy, most notably being the one who found and cared for Joe/Leo Rockway.
    • Doctors Dietz and Elder.
  • Compressed Adaptation: To a point. The Boulder section is truncated, as well as Stu and Tom's return home. Stu and the other townspeople are flown straight to Stovington, Vermont, rather than the CDC in Atlanta, as happened in the book. On the other hand, the miniseries depicts the military occupying Arnette and rounding up Stu and all the other people who came into contact with Campion, as well as their friends and relatives, which only got a flashback mention in the book.
  • Creator Cameo: King appears in the last two episodes as Teddy Weizak, one of the Boulder residents who gives Nadine a ride to Boulder, and later discovers Stu in the final chapter.
  • Death by Adaptation: Major Len Creighton's eventual fate is deliberately left vague in the book, raising the possibility he survived. In the series, it is heavily implied he will die from the superflu, as one of his subordinates is shown to be infected while a disconsolate Creighton is cradling Starkey's corpse.
  • Driven to Suicide: General Starkey, once it is clear that the virus (developed by Project Blue, of which he was in charge) is out of control and billions are going to die. Small wonder that before his suicide he pins a piece of paper to his full dress uniform, with one word written on it: "GUILTY".
  • Empathy Doll Shot:
    • In the opening credits, as the doll dropped by Campion's daughter lays on the ground... and is being pecked at by a crow.
    • A Callback to this happens in the second part: while "Don't Dream It's Over" plays on the soundtrack, we see many shots of abandoned places. One of these is a teddy bear washing back and forth with the tide near the boardwalk (presumably in Ogunquit).
  • The End of the World as We Know It: In one episode, Larry Underwood actually plays guitar and sings Barry Mcguire's "Eve of Destruction," a song about the End Of The World, on the outskirts of Des Moines. Which was on fire.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • One notable sequence has Laura San Giacamo's (Nadine) cleavage on full display and taking up half the frame... except this occurs just before a rape scene when Flagg has his way with her.
    • A similar event occurs soon after, when Nadine pulls herself up onto a ledge and inadvertently reveals her underwear. This is in the middle of her "The Reason You Suck" Speech (directed towards Flagg) before she jumps off the hotel terrace and commits suicide.
  • Fanservice: Several panty shots over the course of the series.
  • Foreshadowing: After he's pulled out of his car, Campion provides the quote on the top of this page, which is the first foreshadowing of the presence of Randall Flagg as the "dark man." The news broadcast that Larry hears over the radio in New York, which states that the army has massacred at least 60 people and wounded hundreds who tried to flee the city through the Lincoln Tunnel, foreshadows his and Nadine's later journey through that same tunnel, and all the bodies they encounter there. Larry's mother also warns him, through her sickness-induced delirium, to watch out for the Dark Man, who's coming for him.
  • Gender Flip:
    • Fran's child, Peter, is Abagail in the miniseries.
    • The one-scene character of Ray Flowers becomes Rae Flowers.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Rae Flowers' death at the hands of the military is only heard by Fran and her father over the radio.
    • Nadine committing suicide by jumping from the terrace of Flagg's apartment. We don't see the impact, but instead are shown one of the workers cleaning up a very large bloodstain on the pavement after the fact.
  • Jump Scare:
    • One pops up near the end of Stuart's dream in the first episode.
    • Another follows shortly when the doctor who tried to kill Stu turns out not to be dead, after all, and attacks him from behind. And then there's the dead doctor who falls out of the elevator after Stu investigates what's inside.
  • Large Ham: A few in the miniseries, notably Matt Frewer as Trashcan Man and Laura San Giacomo as Nadine.
  • Lighter and Softer: The darker aspects of the novel, such as the "female zoo" and the sequence with Trashcan Man and The Kid, were culled for the mini-series. The behavior of the US military is also less immoral compared to the novel: while the military still resorts to extreme measures in the face of Captain Trips, the implication is that they are doing all they can to contain the virus and prevent mass panic from setting in (which would only further spread the virus and make any chance of containment impossible), rather than engaging in a political coverup. In the TV series the soldiers first try to confiscate an incriminating video tape from a media crew by peaceful means, whereas in the novel a two-man death squad is dispatched to simply kill the journalists. Unlike in the novel, in the TV series there is no indication that General Starkey orders the release of the virus around the world in an effort to conceal the American origins of the virus. Finally, the context of Elder/Dietz trying to kill Stu is changed in the mini-series: whereas in the novel Elder had been ordered by his superiors to terminate Stu as part of the military coverup, in the series Dietz has been clearly driven insane by all his friends and loved ones dying from the virus and only wants to kill Stu before he himself succumbs to the virus.
  • The Mountains of Illinois:
    • Trashcan Man's arson incidents in Gary, Indiana and Des Moines, Iowa, are both shown with rugged mountains in the background, because they were filmed in New Mexico.
    • Particularly amusing are the shots of huge mountains in the background as Arnette, TX is quarantined and evacuated. These scenes were shot in Salt Lake City, UT, which is far closer to Las Vegas, NV and Boulder, CO, the two central locations in the story, than eastern Texas.
  • The Power of Rock: At the end of the third episode, Larry is shown taking his guitar (and nothing else) to Las Vegas. A loaded six-string may not help with the forces of darkness...
    Rat-Man: (smashes guitar) Disco is dead!!
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In order to get the mini-series greenlit, King had to cull the darker aspects of the novel for network TV, which in turn led to some decent revisions of the story: removing the "female zoo" sequence and expanding upon Nadine and Larry's relationship as far as the two hooking up in the city rather than once Larry's former companion died.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: When the Judge is shot. You can see the bullet holes, but it's nothing like the book description where there was nothing left of his face. Considering the whole reason Flagg was angry at his men was that he wanted the face to be recognizable, this made the scene make a lot less sense.
    • Averted in the comic adaptation, in which the Judge's face is destroyed.
  • Race Lift: Joe/Leo Rockway is a white kid in the miniseries version.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: In the miniseries version, when Larry asks Nadine how she wants her steak cooked, she says "just run it through a warm room" in a tomboyish moment.
  • Repressive but Efficient: Las Vegas under Flagg.
  • Scary Black Man: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played the "Monster Shouter" in the mini-series.
  • Sound-Only Death: Rae Flowers is killed offscreen when a group of soldiers break into her studio and gun her down, while Fran and her dying father listen to the broadcast in horror.
  • Tempting Fate: "Piece of cake!". In the miniseries, he says it three times while climbing the washout.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: In the miniseries, Abagail helpfully informs the heroes: "The Beast is loose in the fields of Bethlehem. The rats are in the corn!" She also says:
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Harold walks out of the Vermont Center for Disease Control, he noticeably vomits on the ground before running to a nearby bush to continue.